Laws To Lock Up More Children Must Be Opposed

Inner West Council

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has today called on the NSW Government to withdraw their proposed legislation to incarcerate more children.

The Bail and Crimes Amendment Bill, which aims to have more children who have been charged with crimes refused bail, is being rushed through the Parliament without any meaningful consultation or any electoral mandate.

“Thousands of people, who campaigned passionately for Yes in the recent referendum are shocked and appalled that just a few months later the NSW Government is proposing to make it easier to incarcerate Aboriginal children,” Byrne said.

“Aboriginal kids are proportionally amongst the most incarcerated young people on earth. It is heartbreaking to see the Government seeking to put even more children behind bars.

“Prior to being elected I spent many years as a youth worker and case managed many Indigenous children who were locked up. It is just about the most destructive thing that can happen to a kid.

“When you put a child in jail, they come out more likely to commit further crimes, more prone to violence, and less likely to finish school.

“Youth crime is a serious and complex problem. So is the obscene rate of Indigenous incarceration. This legislation will make both problems worse.

“It is distressing that just a few months after the referendum the NSW Government is putting through legislation that goes against the entire ethos of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“The Government has no mandate for more punitive bail laws or to jail more children. They should put it on hold until proper consultation with the Aboriginal community and legal experts has taken place.”

/Public Release. View in full here.